Resurrection #1-3 (Oni Press)

resurrection-header.jpgSara and Ben navigate their way through the wake of a now-ended alien invasion in this post-apocalyptic thriller.

 

 

32 pgs. ea. B&W; $3.50 ea.

(W: Marc Guggenheim; A: David Dumeer)

 

The cover to Resurrection #1. Click for a larger image.Give me a comic, book, or movie set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and I’ll give you a plot device that works just about every time. Escape From New York. The Road Warrior. The Warriors. The Postman (hey, the book wasn’t bad). And don’t forget Pixar’s wholly unexpected minor-chord symphony of bleakness, WALL-E.

Westerns work the same way—the spartan landscape and lawless vibe have a way of making figures loom large against a de-peopled backdrop. The wasteland means drama.

The mysteries introduced in the first three issues of Oni’s post-apocalypse title Resurrection tantalize readers. Why and how did a force of alien invaders (who, by the by, look like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, if he walked with a hunch and had his face burnt off) enslave the populace for ten years? How were the aliens finally run off the earth by a decimated humanity? How is it that one woman has come to keep an alien as prisoner in her basement? Why are America’s surviving politicians and military leaders acting like total dicks? Okay, that last one was a rhetorical question.

The cover to Resurrection #2. Click for a larger image.Our stand-ins in this tale are Sara and Ben, a pair who met on the road and now find themselves "fellow travelers" (not Communists, but actual fellow travelers). We’ll follow them on their long walk to Washington, D.C., to see if there’s anything left of that ol’ bugaboo called the U.S. government, now that the invaders have gone home.

Beginning this book after a world crisis and explaining what happened bit by bit, as new mysteries unfold, is a smart storytelling trick. The text and art mesh well in its telling, too. For instance, in the first issue, as Sara begins the long walk to look for her young son, her image stays the same in five successive panels, but the background changes to depict the devastation of the countryside, dotted with fires and corpses. Nice work.

Those dark touches are appreciated, too. Everywhere Ben and Sara go, petrified survivors are pulling guns on one another out of sheer defensiveness. (In this gun-totin’, moron-lovin’ nation, it seemed pretty realistic to me.) When they find a noted billionaire/genius/asshole inside a downed alien ship, where some sort of biomechanical outgrowth of the ship itself has begun to meld with his flesh, it’s just creepy.

Like so many new comics, this one seems tailor-made for a Hollywood studio to swoop down and buy the rights to make it into a film. It’s so cinematic, it even has film-style segues from one scene into the next, with overlapping dialogue.

The cover to Resurrection #3. Click for a larger image.Some flags went up, though. First, calling the aliens "bugs" was a little Starship Troopers for me. Second, the art isn’t quite tight enough. Scrutinize it and you’ll see—in some panels, artist David Dumeer gets a facial expression just right; in others, it may come off as a bit rushed. Third, it might be hard to argue that Resurrection isn’t a predictable attempt in the wake of a certain juggernaut known as Y: The Last Man. Whether the series can prove its worth independent of that modern, post-apocalyptic classic remains to be seen.

Still, after reading the first three issues of Resurrection, you’ll be ready for three more. It’s smart and dark, and it’s jammed with mysterious subplots big and small you’ll want to see play out. | Byron Kerman

 

Click here for an 11-page preview, courtesy of Oni Press!

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